Rome

PD rebuffs IMU 'ultimatum' from PdL

'Plenty of other measures' need funding says Epifani

PD rebuffs IMU 'ultimatum' from PdL

(updates previous). Rome, August 27 - The Democratic Party (PD) on Tuesday rebuffed an ultimatum from Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party to scrap property tax IMU or see the Italy's unprecedented left-right government fall. "We don't accept ultimatums," said PD leader Guglielmo Epifani ahead of a meeting with Premier Enrico Letta, also of the PD. Epifani said it was "also in our interest to reform IMU" but there were "plenty of other measures" that needed funding, including help for people left without pensions and the prevention of a planned VAT hike. The PD has proposed various IMU reforms to exempt low-earners and keep a renamed 'service tax' on large portfolios but the PdL is insisting IMU must be scrapped entirely to meet Berlusconi's key electoral pledge. The row has loomed over the uneasy emergency reform alliance between the old foes since its inception after a two-month post-election stalemate almost four months ago. The government's future is also jeopardised by ex-premier Berlusconi's ejection from the Senate because of an August 1 tax-fraud conviction, his first definitive sentence in 20 years of fighting magistrates he says are left-wing. The PD is turning a deaf ear to PdL pleas not to ratify a ban that would strip the centre-right leader of his seat. The PdL says it will pull the plug if Berlusconi loses his upper-house seat.

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